Disclaimers: I don't own any of the characters or concepts of Space: Above and Beyond I'm just borrowing them for awhile. Neither McQueen nor Nina Bianco are mine. (Nina belongs to a friend)

Rating: PG (for half a swear word. *G*)

Category: McQueen/Other romance, Alternate Universe.

Spoilers: General ones.

Author's Note: This story was written as a giftfic for a friend, Medie.

Finding Faith


Christina A.

Reputation was not only important, sometimes it meant the difference between survival and instant death. In this particular case, it meant getting the table with the best view of space. Obviously, the man didn't know the Wildcards' reputation, or he wouldn't be so brazenly asserting himself. "I said, that I want to sit here."

Turning his head slightly, Nathan West sized up the newcomer. "We all want things..."

"Doesn't mean we get them," Cooper Hawkes finished for him. "Besides, we were here first." He looked around proudly at his other friends, who sat staring at the other group. Their faces expressionless.

"Listen," Vanessa Damphousse interjected, "there's a table that is just as nice right next to this one. We've been out on a long sortie and all we want to do is sit down, have a drink, and relax. Surely, you can understand that."

Shane watched silent, as the men started to laugh.

"I really don't give a rat's ass if you've been on duty for three months straight and haven't had a glass of water in weeks. We want this table. Obviously, you have no idea who we are."

"Actually, we do. Uniform says you're RCAF, and your patch says you're the 33rd. Though why either is significant, we don't know." Wang smiled at his group, and raised his brows as Hawkes had to smother a laugh.

"Personally, who you are or what squadron you're with doesn't matter much to us." Shane finally spoke up, her eyes locked with a deadly lethality on the leader of the 33rd. "We're all on the same side here. And I don't really give a shit about anything other than that I'm sitting here and I'm not moving."

The leader of the 33rd moved forward toward the woman who just spoke. He was thinking of a hundred things he'd like to do with that smart mouth.

It was a big mistake. Hawkes and West were up in a heartbeat, both formidable in their stance. "I wouldn't do that if I were you. She's the captain. You want her, you have to go through us."

"Not a problem, pal." The man drew his fist back to swing and was shocked beyond expression when a hand came out of nowhere and grasped the flying fist.

"That would not be the smartest thing to do."

"Who the fu..." It was then that the man noticed the rank. "Colonel." He stood up straight. "We were just having a discussion about seating arrangements."

Colonel TC McQueen looked at his squad and then back to the 33rd. "I believe you have seating just outside those swinging doors, soldiers."

Not wanting to risk a confrontation with a Colonel, they grudgingly did as the Colonel had instructed.

"Punks," Nathan muttered, sitting down.

"Just trying to find their place in the pecking order," McQueen added. "Forget about it." Sitting down, he looked around. "So, we playing cards or what?" And with that, the altercation was forgotten.

The group didn't see the Lt. Colonel watching them as she sipped on her drink. She knew about the 5-8. A very damn good group of soldiers, with an outstanding leader. The problem with the new collaboration was going to be her group of disrespectful children.

Let the games begin.

The commanding officer of the 33rd stood in front of her men. They were standing at attention and had been for the past ten minutes. She was not happy and they knew it. In fact, everyone know when Lt. Colonel Nina Bianco wasn't happy. And she more than had a right to be upset.

She paced up and down in front of them. Finally stopping in front of her lieutenant, she glared at him before asking, "Care to explain what that display was about last night, Parker?"

"Sir," he started, she hated that 'ma'am' thing. "Sir, that was our table, sir."

Stepping even closer, she intensified her glare. He was a good three inches taller than she, but he was clearly intimidated. "Was your name on that table? I didn't see one." Stepping back, she addressed them all. "What I saw last night was a pathetic group of wannabe tough guys who were about to pick a fight with the best damn squadron in this war. The very same squadron that you are going to be working with on your next assignment. Care to tell me how smart that move was, Lt. Parker?"

"Sir, it wasn't, sir."

"No, it wasn't." Standing squarely so that all could see her, she said, "There will be no more shows of intimidation. The incident will be forgotten. We are all fighting for the same cause, boys. Lest we forget that fellow soldiers are giving their lives every minute for this war. Yours could be next. All that could be standing between you and a body bag is the 58th Squadron. At ease."

The last command came as a bit of a shock, but the men did as they were ordered. Berating over, Nina grew a bit softer, these were her boys after all. "Listen, they've earned the reputation they have. They're damn good. And here's your chance not only to learn, but to show how good you are as well. Because you are. Understand?" The last was said to Parker. He'd been drunk last night, she knew that. She also knew it was eating at him that he'd made a fool of himself.

"Understood, Lt. Colonel. Clearly." He relaxed a bit, knowing how lucky he was to have her for a commanding officer. No one was more loyal or fought harder for her men than Lt. Colonel Nina Bianco. In his eyes, she was the best. And when they screwed up, she let them know about it. Winning this war and keeping them alive were her top priorities. He pledged to get through this for her if for nothing else.

Colonel McQueen led his squad into the briefing room. The Wildcards were a bit more casual in their entrance than most other squads. It was this casualness that led Hawkes to say, "You're kidding me," when they entered the room and found the 33rd sitting there waiting for them.

"Can it, Hawkes," McQueen said. To everyone, he instructed, "Have a seat." His eyes assessed the woman in front of him. He'd heard a lot about her. Good and feisty. Very much down to business, but could tell a hell of a joke as well. What he hadn't been told was that she was also very beautiful, with eyes that were penetrating enough to read anyone's soul. Providing they had one.

Saluting him, Nina informed, "Sir, the 33rd is at your command."

"Thank you, Lt. Colonel Bianco." Saluting her in return, he turned to face the group. Last night was immediately forgotten as he laid out to them exactly what their assignment was going to be. Several squads had been taken as POWs. The Saratoga was going to lead an attack while the combination of 58th and 33rd squadrons was going to lead the ground assault. Vansen, by more than just her rank, would be in command. West would be her number one. It was the way of the Wildcards and the way of this assignment.

No one questioned.

No one questioned either when they were instructed that they had only a half hour to prepare. They were going to hit hard, hit fast, get their soldiers, and get the hell out of there. This was more than an enemy stronghold.

Life just got a lot more complicated.

TC McQueen entered the canteen and found Lt. Colonel Bianco sitting at a table staring out the porthole. He understood why she was doing it. How many times had he done it? Too many to count. Ordering a couple drinks, he moved toward the table and looked out the same portal.

"Mind if I sit down?"

The soft voice shook her from her thoughts and all she could do was nod. Handing her the drink, Ty continued to look out the window. "The beginning may have been rocky, but you have some good kids, well trained. You gave them the tools they needed to survive and they will survive."

Sipping at her drink, she looked at the profile of the man who was speaking and realized for the first time that he was indeed a man and not just a Marine. He'd always come across as gruff and strictly military, but there was another layer. Unable to let her barriers down right away, she merely replied, "You tell yourself that same thing?"

Glancing over at her, he nodded curtly. "I believe it. I have to. This war has been bloody and it's only going to get bloodier. We are each other's family. Right now, we're all we've got, and I'm going to hold onto that with everything I am. Those are MY kids out there too, Bianco. And if my faith in them will help at all to get them home, I'm going to give them all I've got."

Looking down at her drink, she nodded. "I hate sitting back. It enrages me that I get to sit here drinking with you when my kids are out there risking their lives. I should be out there."

"We need good commanders here. You're one of the best."

Chuckling lightly, she had to wonder if that was true. She'd always thought that the man sitting next to her was the best. Looking at him, she had to ask, "Where does your faith come from?"

His gaze went back out the portal. "It comes from knowing what has to be done and doing what it takes to rid our universe of those damn Chigs. If we fail, humanity is lost. And those kids... our kids... are a shining example of the fact that there is still a lot of good in humanity."

She listened as he talked and felt a connection growing between them. "I agree. If we lose, all is lost. I refuse to accept defeat. Always was stubborn like that."

He chuckled and looked at her. "Me too."

Both sat back and returned to look out the portal. Their kids would come home soon. It was what they were both clinging to. That and whatever it was that was starting to blossom between them.

A light rapping at his door prompted McQueen to look up from the book he was reading. "Who's there?"


"Come," he said, not surprised at her visit, he'd been expecting it after she'd checked on her people and he had his. The mission had been completed, their teams had retrieved all the surviving POWs and none of their people had been lost or injured. It had been a good mission.

Giving the Colonel a smile, she entered and shut the door behind her. "I walked by the canteen. You won't believe this, but they're all sitting at the same table singing drinking songs."

Offering her a chair, Ty had to smile. "Those are the top two requirements for the armed forces... being able to drink and knowing all the classic drinking songs."

Lifting a brow at him, she laughed. "YOU know drinking songs?" Oh, she would love to hear them. Somehow, she just couldn't picture TC McQueen sloshed to the gills and singing off key.

"Know them?" Leaning toward her, his voice lowered as he said, "I can sing you a pretty tune while you either clean your gun or hem your dress."

"I don't wear dresses."

"Pity." He was sitting so close to her now there was little or no room between them. These evenings of verbal sparring had been going on every night since they'd met in the canteen. They'd learned a great deal about one another. The biggest thing was that they enjoyed the 'meetings' in his quarters far more than the ones in the canteen. Without saying another word, he brought her to him for a slow, tender kiss.

It was perhaps one of the few tendernesses in this horrible war. They made love slowly, cherishing every moment as if it would be their last. Both also knew that it could very easily be so. They were at war, nothing was guaranteed. Nothing.

Therefore, they had to make the most of every touch, every sigh, every kiss, every climax. They made love how they commanded... It was complete and merciless in its intensity. It was all they had to get them through the harder times. When they were in each other's arms, the war went away.

And for those few short hours, they were in paradise.

The collaboration between the 58th and the 33rd continued for several more missions. No one was surprised when orders arrived indicating the 33rd to remain on the Saratoga. It was now home base for the two best squadrons in the fleet.

Both squads were happy with the assignment.

Both commanding officers were even happier.

No matter how hard the war would become, it wouldn't devastate them. They had their faith; they had their squads.

They had each other.

The End

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